Worth repeating: Improving my jewelry storage

27 March 2017

In 2014, I made a huge improvement in how I store my jewelry and I blogged about it, complete with before and after pictures. I’m still using this system, though I have a very limited selection of jewelry, now that I’m doing Project 333. Unlike my clothes, I have not packed away my jewelry. So I still select my earrings (from the few pairs in the collection) from that jewelry box and pluck the one necklace I wear from the rack. I wanted to share this post again, because this system has worked well for me and stood the test of time!

I don’t have a ton of jewelry, but I have my share. I wear earrings virtually day and on some days I also wear necklaces or bracelets. As a result, how well my jewelry is organized really has an impact on my daily life.

For years, I’ve limped along in this regard. I’ve tried lots of different jewelry boxes and sometimes had several different jewelry boxes littering the top of my dresser.

Most recently (probably two years ago), I came up on this solution, which worked pretty well for awhile.

I kept my earrings in the little four-section swivel organizer. I divided them into three categories that worked for me (colored, metal, dressy) and used the bottom section for brooches. I kept necklaces on a tree-themed jewelry stand.

That still left bracelets to be stored and they sat on the bureau in this little inappropriate tray. (The cream-colored box contains my grandmother’s pearls.)

It worked for awhile, but usability issues soon formed. I found I had trouble finding the earrings I wanted, especially in the morning when my husband was still sleeping. He’s a light sleeper and I knew that my pushing around the earrings trying to find mates was disturbing him. I also usually had trouble finding the necklace I was looking for.

I’m delighted to report that I’ve a solution that I think is going to work really well this time. I purchased three jewelry stacker boxes at the Container Store, after seeing them at a client’s house.

In the top section, I keep the earrings I wear most often, plus the brooches (which I actually don’t wear very often).

In the tray beneath that are earrings.

And in the bottom, deep section are bracelets and watches.

For the necklaces, I mounted this tie rack on the wall next to the bureau. Now the necklaces are separated (one per peg), so I can easily find them.

Before this month’s jewelry reorganization, this is how my bureau looked on a good day (this is an after picture from a post on decluttering my bureau top):

This morning, I took this photo. (I moved my grandmother’s pearls, which I rarely wear, as well as the little plastic containers of shoe- and clothing-related accessories, inside the bureau.) I’ve literally never had such a clear bureau top, and this makes me very happy!

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A Lego storage solution: Rent them!

23 March 2017

Rent legos!

I don’t have kids, so I don’t have personal experience with the challenge of storing and organizing Legos. But I’ve certainly seen clients who struggle with this. (And I do have personal experience with the pain of stepping on an errant Lego in bare or stocking feet!)

My team has implemented various solutions, including plastic shoe boxes , Elfa drawers, and storage designed specifically for Legos. They all can work but require time to be spent on maintenance. I’ve been intrigued by the Lego mats that make it easy to just corral and pick up a bunch of Legos without any attempt at organizing. To me, that seems like a realistic solution, as long as you have a place to store the bag of Legos you end up with.

Then I learned about what seems like a brilliant concept: Renting Lego sets! A company called Netbricks is clearly trying to be the Netflix of the Lego set. You can do a one-time rental for $25, or you can pay a monthly fee (there are different levels depending on the value of the Lego sets you want to receive and whether you want them one at a time or all at once) and then you’re sent the Lego sets you select. After your child has assembled the Lego sets, you tear them apart and return them. The sets are delivered to your door and you return them by mail. Netbrix claims that renting is 85% cheaper than buying.

If you have a Lego-crazy kid and storing the Legos you purchase is driving you crazy, you might want to give Netbricks a try!

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Embracing my inner imperfectionist

21 March 2017

In my home office I use a MacBook pro attached to an external monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse. The keyboard is a Satechi Bluetooth Keyboard and I love it.

My only complaint about the keyboard is that after only nine months of use, the letters started wearing off the most-used keys. (Apparently I hit the keys hard.) I’m a touch typist, so it’s not that big a deal, but it was starting to get on my nerves. I had a hard time in particular remembering which key was R and which was T.

This is what I was dealing with.

replacing worn off keyboard keys

Initially I thought I’d replace the keyboard. Then I saw that would cost $60. So I started seeking alternatives. Naturally, I googled the problem (I searched on “replacing worn off keyboard letters”) and saw that there are keyboard stickers available. But they looked a bit sketchy, so I dug a little deeper and found a DIY site that recommended printing out letters and affixing them with double-sided tape. No thanks. But in the comments to that post, someone recommended using a P-Touch labeler. I jumped on that option.

I pulled out my Brother P-Touch and popped in a label cartridge with black type on white tape and extra strength adhesive. I printed out the missing letters in text size 24. I put several spaces between each letter and just trimmed them by hand and affixed them to the keys.

I had to work hard not to let this project take the better part of an hour. I told myself that it didn’t matter whether each label was the same size as the one next to it, since the letters were all the same size. I stopped myself from getting obsessive about making sure the labels were straight. I just printed, cut, stuck and moved on. It took about seven minutes for the 15 letters, start to finish.

And you know what? They look just fine and they feel great. It is such a relief to be able to see the keys!

replacing worn off keyboard keys

Years ago, I heard time-management guru Harold L. Taylor speak at a seminar here in St. Louis. (I blogged about it at the time.) One of the things he said is that a perfectionist is someone who spends a greater amount of time on a task than it merits. This task did not merit a lot of time. If I had spent an additional hour making sure everything was perfect, the keys would have looked marginally better and their function would have been the same.

I’m so glad I let go of perfectionism on this project!

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Curious about Project 333? Ask Courtney Carver!

17 March 2017

On July 1 last year I started Project 333 the experiment in which I dress from a collection of only 33 articles of clothing, accessories and shoes for three months. Ever since, I can’t stop talking about the freedom it has brought me.

I’ve blogged about it each quarter and I am looking forward to coming up with my spring collection (shopping from my closet and the clothes I’ve tucked away in the basement) in just two weeks.

I’m a big fan of blogger Courtney Carver of Be More with Less who came up with Project 333 seven years ago. I heard her speak in St. Louis in June, which prompted me to give it a try. Yesterday, I learned that Courtney is doing a free live Q&A about Project 333. It’ll be held Tuesday, March 21 at 3 pm central time. It will be recorded; registrants who can’t attend live will be sent a link for the recording.

I wanted to share the information here because I think that perhaps the Q&A will have the same effect on you as hearing Courtney had on me. I’d love for some of my readers to give Project 333 a try because it has been such a revelation for me. Courtney makes it sound easy and doable (which it is).

Though I’ve heard her speak, I’m signing up for the webinar to hear the questions and answers.

If you give Project 333 a try, please tell me about your experience!

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It's Organize Your Home Office Day!

14 March 2017


I don’t know who’s in charge of designating these national “holidays” but I’m happy that today is Organize Your Home Office Day. (I’m less enthused about ones like Frozen Food Day, which was March 6, according to the Days of the Year website.)

I learned that it’s Organize Your Home Office Day when a prominent genealogy blogger, Tom MacEntee, blogged about it on Geneabloggers. I was delighted that my other blog, Organize Your Family History, was touted in his list of resources to help folks organize their genealogy research.

That led me to blog on Organize Your Family History about how to celebrate Organize Your Home Office Day, and I thought I’d adapt that for this blog as well.

In honor of Organize Your Home Office Day, I challenge you today to look around your home office and assess the following:

  • Are there stray papers that could be filed?
  • Do the items that are stored on your desk deserve to be there?
  • Do you have post-its or notes pinned to a bulletin board that have aged out?
  • How are you doing on office supplies? Are you about to run out of anything?
  • Do you have any shredding to do?
  • Can you put away items that belong in other rooms?

If you can say yes to any of those questions, I encourage you to pick three of them to address right now.

I’m convinced that most of these tidy-up projects take much less time than we expect them to. And they reap big benefits.

As I mentioned last week, I had a TV interview in my office a couple of weeks ago and did a pretty thorough sprucing up of the space. But just two weeks later, the desk looked a bit like a hurricane had blown through.

So this morning I set my timer for 15 minutes and raced against the clock to get my desk looking ship shape again. Guess what? It took only 10 minutes!

What can you spend 15 minutes doing today to honor Organize Your Home Office Day?

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Fall asleep to music with your iPhone

10 March 2017

I’m on my third iPhone and have loved it wholeheartedly since day one. I like to think I know a lot about its features, but I just learned something new that I thought I’d share.

Did you know that you can set your timer to stop the music you’re playing when the timer goes off? That means that if you like to fall asleep to music (or spoken word, I suppose), you can have the phone turn off the music automatically. Set a timer for an appropriate amount of time, set the sound for “When Timer Ends” to “Stop Playing” (all the way down at the bottom of the list of chime tones) and the music will stop after the designated amount of time, perhaps after you’ve fallen asleep.

I also use it just as an alternative to a chime when I am listening to music while doing chores. When the time is up, the music stops.

I’m sure there are a bazillion other features of my beloved iPhone that I don’t know about. Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?

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What do you store on your desk?

1 March 2017

I see a lot of messy desks. And sometimes my own desk is messy. I’ve come to believe that the key to having a truly clear desk is to be really careful about what you actually store there. When you clean off your desk, you want to have plenty of clear space on which to work. For me, all that clear space gives me a sense of peace while simultaneously motivating me. When your desk is cleared off, how clear is it really?

A week ago I received a call from a local TV reporter asking if he could come to my home office the next day and shoot an interview about paper clutter. Of course I said yes. Then I looked around my office. There’s nothing like the prospect of a TV camera coming into your office to make you look at it with a critical eye.

I spent a little time that evening tidying up. Some items had migrated to my desk top and I removed them. Some papers and business cards and post-it notes had found their way to my monitor stand. Just focusing on the desk for 15 minutes or so allowed it to be TV ready. I bought some tulips and added them.

Here’s a photo taken just after the TV reporter left.

What do you store on your desk top?

On my desk, I store:

  • a letter tray to corral stray papers (I try not to let it get too full—there’s a book in I’m contemplating reviewing)
  • a pen cup
  • a stapler
  • a container that holds my computer glasses upright so I can find them easily
  • some device related to our home security system that for some reason has to live there
  • a leather container from Levenger that hides my charging cords and ear buds
  • a business card holder (for my business cards)
  • a little dish of sea glass from my trip to Barbados that makes me happy
  • a dish of straight pins for my bulletin board
  • a container of push pins for my bulletin board

It’s funny. Now that I’m looking at this photo and listing all these things, I realize that some just live there because they always have, not because I use them regularly. I think I’ll remove the push pins and the straight pins, as well as the business card holder. And I definitely could take a bunch of pens out of the pen holder so it’s easier to use.

Maybe it’s time for you to take a critical look at your desk top. Does it contain only items that you use regularly or that make you really happy? For me, the clearer my desk top, the clearer my mind.

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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